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First publication launched by the New Zealand Alternative

People curious about and/or committed to what a genuine public conversation about New Zealand's role in the world packed out Meow in Edward Street on Tuesday night for a social launch of 'Aotearoa New Zealand and conflict prevention: Building a truly independent foreign policy'.

After reminding people the official launch would be at the National Library on 24 October, MC Robbie Nicol shared his wish that New Zealand should aspire to be the "Lisa Simpson of the world". Alternatively he took votes on the idea of shipping five New Zealanders to every country in the world as envoys of our differentness.

Two of the four co-founders of the New Zealand Alternative spoke live at the event - Laura O'Connell Rapira and Thomas Nash - and two by video clips - Max Harris and Nina Hall. All received a common seal of approval from an audience hungry for more conversation about the areas that the New Zealand Alternative will be focusing on, including: Decolonisation and indigenous rights, feminist foreign policy, NZ’s humanitarian identity, environmental justice and alternative models for economics and trade

For Rapira the challenge of this new initiative is that it might raise awareness of the power an independent voice has, and that we have just been "scratching the surface" of that voice and New Zealand's potential as a "role model" to the world.

Thomas Nash: "We're not on the right track, and we have to face up to that".

'Aotearoa New Zealand and conflict prevention: Building a truly independent foreign policy' is a comprehensive 76 page report that is available to read/ download at https://bit.ly/2ScOdyx

The four recommendations it closes with are that:

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade undertakes a feasibility and appropriateness study for the establishment of a Conflict Prevention Unit;
A Conflict Prevention Unit be established independent of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (subject to the feasibility and appropriateness study confirming the viability of a Unit); and
The Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade, as well as others in political and public service leadership (where appropriate), speak more vocally – in formal and informal settings – about New Zealand playing a greater role in peace mediation and conflict prevention internationally; and
A commitment to peace mediation and conflict prevention is made alongside an accompanying redoubling of efforts to decolonise Aotearoa New Zealand.

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